Age is no barrier to getting the right treatment
01 November 2012

A 96-year-old great-grandfather has been given a new lease of life after doctors performed an operation to treat his rectal cancer.

After assessing Henry Hall’s health and fitness, doctors at Tameside Hospital had no hesitation in offering him a laparoscopic anterior resection to remove his cancer in an enhanced recovery programme. The operation was successful and he has made a good recovery.

This is despite a recent study by the Royal College of Surgeons, the charity Age UK and communications consultancy MHP Health Mandate which claimed elderly people are discriminated against when being helped to decide if they should have surgery or not.  The study claims health professionals can be too quick to decide against offering surgery because of ‘outdated assumptions of age and fitness’.

Mr Hall, who lives in Hyde, said: “I can’t believe I have had an operation to tell you the truth. I feel alright already.”

The former stonemason first began feeling unwell in February this year and found he needed to go to the bathroom more often.

Mr Hall said: “I used to have a bit of a social life but I couldn’t do that anymore. With this bowel trouble I was continuously going to the toilet, so it makes you stop indoors and you can’t go out.”

He was treated by surgeon Mr Karim Muhammad, who advised Mr Hall to have the procedure despite his advanced age.

Mr Hall, who puts his good health down to having such an active job in his early life, said: “I’m so pleased with the doctor. He just told me straight and I could talk to him really easily. He gave me a lot of confidence and explained it very clearly.

“I had all that trouble so I was prepared to accept having an operation. I was a bit nervous because it was bit of a chance but the doctor put my mind at rest and I soon decided.”

He added: “They said if I had the operation I could see 100 and that the last years I have got will be quality ones.

“Fortunately I have had a good life and, with a bit of luck, I will have a good life in the next few years.”

Mr Hall, who has a daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, urged people to seek treatment whatever their age and said: “People should be fully confident to get the operation done.”

Mr Karim, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon with special interest in Laparoscopy and Pelvic Floor Surgery at Tameside Hospital, said: “He has done so well at his age. This wonderful work could only be performed with the help of surgical Mr Tariq Nasser and Carol Cunningham, our colorectal nurse specialist.

“Our initial discussion was positive as Henry wanted to improve his quality of life.  He was offered Laparoascopic surgery in an enhanced recovery programme and was reviewed by an anaesthetist regarding fitness for surgery.”

He added: “This highlights the fact that age is not a restriction to surgery. Tameside Hospital is working towards improving patients’ outcome, quality and care.

“Best wishes to Henry on this remarkable journey.”